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Pole Barns vs Steel Barns: What are the differences?

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Steel Quonset Hut barn with brick endwalls and green tractor in front of it.
Quonset Hut barn in North Carolina.

When purchasing a building, it’s imperative to do your research. If you’re in the market to buy an agricultural building, it’s important to know your options. We’re here to let you know some of the key differences between traditional pole barns and SteelMaster metal barns.

Short Term vs Long Term Costs

A big factor to take into consideration is long term versus short term cost. With prices as low as $4 per square foot before construction costs, cheap pole barns may sound very appealing. However, you will only end up paying more money in the long run due to the cost of maintenance. With traditional pole barns, wooden poles are buried in the ground and used as columns for the roof. The walls are made of wood and are nailed into the poles. These wooden poles are vulnerable to rot, pests, moisture damage and fire. A pole barn that isn’t consistently maintained can be a major eye sore, decreasing the value of your property.

Steel barns are an ideal choice for a long term investment. While a little more expensive, they require little to no maintenance after assembly. This is because SteelMaster uses a coating called Galvalume Plus that helps to prevent rusting and basic wear and tear on the arches.

Construction Process

Digging the holes to place the wooden poles in can make the construction process a lot longer, especially depending on the condition and level of the soil. Because poles are buried in the ground, they may shift over time because they aren’t as secure. This can also cause problems with building codes in your area because pole barns are not thought of as permanent structures. Pole barns don’t have a solid foundation and the walls don’t need to be secured to the ground with concrete.

The arches of a steel barn, however, are anchored to a concrete foundation. This makes for a quicker and simpler construction process, saving you construction costs. You won’t even need to re-caulk or grout as things loosen over time. It also allows buildings to be portable and gives you the flexibility to expand your SteelMaster building at a later date. You can disassemble your existing building, and then reassemble it at another location if you decide to move.

Unlike steel buildings, wood pole barns require trusses to support the ceiling which causes you to lose extra space. Our metal buildings have a 100 percent clear span design, meaning there are no beams or trusses required—you’ll have the maximum amount of storage space in your building.

The Bottom Line

Doing your research on what kind of building will fit your needs is crucial, but if you want a permanent structure that’s built to last for decades, a steel barn is your safest and best option. Although a metal building kit may be pricier than a traditional pole barn in the beginning, you’ll thank yourself for saving money on maintenance costs in the future.